Dahlberg retires as Southern chairman; Franklin named CEO

HOUSTON, Feb. 19�Allen Franklin was elected chief executive officer of Southern Co. effective March 1, succeeding long-time Chairman A.W. "Bill'' Dahlberg, who announced he will retire as Southern chairman, effective with the spinoff of Mirant Corp. planned for April 2.

Franklin will retain his president title in addition to being CEO. The board also elected Gale Klappa as Southern's chief financial officer, effective March 1. He replaces Larry Westbrook, who announced his retirement following 37 years of service.

Franklin, 56, has served at Southern for 31 years. He has been active on the national level, especially with respect to issues affecting the structure of the electric utility industry and testifying before several congressional committees on behalf of the industry.

He said among the company's goals is continuing to earn top-quartile returns, with earning/share growth of at least 5% a year; doubling earnings from the competitive generation business over the next 5 years; and produce $50 million of net income from energy-related products and services over the next 5 years.

Prior to becoming president and chief operating officer of Southern in 1999, Franklin served as president and CEO of Georgia Power from 1994 to 1999. He joined Southern Co. Services in 1970 as an engineer and was named president and CEO of that subsidiary in 1988. Franklin is chairman of Edison Electric Institute's CEO Steering Committee on Industry Structure.

Under Dahlberg's guidance, Southern Co. grew from a regional electric utility company operating in the Southeast to an international energy company with operations in 12 countries on five continents. The growth of Mirant Corp., the international and domestic operations business unit the company plans to spin off in April, occurred under Dahlberg's leadership. He will serve as Mirant's chairman.

Dahlberg, 60, joined Southern as a meter installer at Georgia Power in 1960. He became CEO of Southern Co. Services in 1985 and returned to Georgia Power 3 years later as president and CEO. He became president of Southern Co. in 1994 and chairman and CEO in March 1995.

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